Zettai Shougeki (Or Master of Martial Hearts as the DVD case says) is, and I almost feel mean saying this, terrible. Just terrible. And it's almost worth recommending.
This review not only contains, but REQUIRES spoilers.
First, let's get the technical things out of the way.
I almost enjoyed the OP, but christ did the songwriters ruin a rockin' song with some bratty, over-loud vocals! At one point I thought about recording it in college, but after the 2nd listen, I got sick of it. Which kind of echoed my feelings on the series (covered below). As for the rest of the music, I can't remember any of it. Go figure.
The voice actors in the dub are as you would expect, and do a fairly good job despite some absolutely shocking script. "You're pushing too hard! My uniform is coming off!" is just one of the golden phrases you'll pick up watching this OVA.
Clothes ripping off during a fight doesn't bother me. I see it as something of a visual treat, not because we get to see BOOBS and ASS, but because it's almost like a health bar for the characters. Shirts ripped off? Down to 75%. Pants? 50%. Bra? Health Critical! And besides, with Zettai Shougeki, if all you wanna see is some TITTIES and BUTTS, you'll be massively disappointed. The animation just isn't good enough! Stick to the much better executed Ikkitousen.
Now there are definately going to be spoilers
I started out actually liking the plot: After expressing their deepest desire and subsequently being entered in to a mysterious tournament by persons unknown, a bunch of girls fight each other to claim the Platonic Heart (I dunno, the brief times we get to see it, it looks like a cross between a mutated duck and a crappy glass tiara), which will grant them their wish. If they lose, they're sent to the dark realm. If someone quits, they're also sent to the dark realm. You apparently have no choice whether you want to fight or not. You wished for something? YOU FIGHT FOR IT!
Okay, so what is our main character's wish? Umm... she doesn't have one. Aya never expresses any real desire for ANYTHING. The show ignores the fact that she kinda likes her best friend Natsume's brother (which would have made better damn sense as her deepest desire, even if it was cheesy), and instead makes Aya's wish about the poor, burger-eating shrine maiden Miko Kazuki, who mysteriously goes missing in the meantime. Seriously, this girl who's she's only just met 10 minutes ago is now worth wasting a 100% legit wish on?
So who was Miko and why did she disappear? Miko was already wrapped up in the battle for the Platonic Heart, after her wish is somehow overheard. Her wish? To make friends. I actually liked the idea that winning the Platonic Heart wasn't essential to answer a fighter's wish, and that just the idea and the encouragement of the tournament can help them achieve their goals. At one point I imagined the tournament would grant some of the less complex wishes as it progressed, leaving only the fighters with the most extravagant of desires. But the show doesn't allow that to happen, unfortunately. Had it been executed this way, not only would it have been way cuter, and it would have gained this show some much needed extra points.
Things just don't add up in Master of Martial Hearts. How do the wishes of these girls reach the ears of the organisation? What is so special about the picture of Aya's parents? Why does Nastume's mom have no vocal chords? Why draw attention to these seemingly random things?
HOWEVER. In all seriousess now: All of these holes are answered by of the brain melting twist at the end. It turns out that: Aya's mom and dad started the tournament as a way of snaring women to sell as dirty sex objects (puke!). Two of those women were Miko and Natsume's mothers, one killed by Aya's father, one who had her throat slashed to mute her. Nasty piece of work, those parents of hers... BUT THEN it turns out that the whole reason Aya's parents started the tournament was to get back at the made-up-on-the-spot atrocities of Natsume's and Miko's grandparents.
Absolutely EVERYTHING can be explained by it, it's actually scary. Was this the work of a genius? Oh god... It explains why Aya didn't need a wish (she was specifically chosen). It explains how Miko's wish reached the organisation (umm, she was part of it the whole time). It explains why Miko had to disappear in the first place: to convince Aya to get to the end. It explains why no other fighter has a freaking clue about anything. Amongst a whole bunch of things I can't remember.
And all of this is nothing less than insulting to the viewer. You have absolutely no way of figuring this twist out, not least because the random-ass clues (the picture, Natsume's mom) sucked.
So yeah. This show sucks so bad. Yet it left me screaming with laughter.
If you see this cheap, get it just for kicks.
3/10 - Bad
(Taking this seriously would remove all the points)
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